In Spotlight: Lucy Punch's most memorable roles - from Motherland to Bloods

As comic actor Lucy Punch returns to our screens in the second series of medical comedy Bloods, we take a look at some of her funniest and most iconic characters.

By Lizzie Larkum Published: 25 March 2022 - 11.42am
BBC Lucy Punch as Amanda in Motherland

From Hot Fuzz to Motherland, Lucy Punch has gained a reputation for playing, frankly quite awful women. Thankfully, she always manages to bring a sense of wickedness and irony to all her characters, which makes them a joy to watch.

As she returns to our screens in the second series of medical comedy Bloodswe take a look at some of her best movie and TV roles.

 

Bloods - Jo

Lucy Punch in Bloods

As the lovelorn Jo, Lucy plays slightly against type, playing a practical, no-nonsense controller of a South London paramedic unit. She’s tough and a strong leader of the team.

Her life would be great if she wasn’t in love with grieving Lawrence played by Julian Barratt. This dynamic of unrequited love leads to painfully awkward moments and some moments of genuine pain. In series 1 episode 2, a bit of kick box banter between the two leads to Jo miss timing a kick and cracking her head on the ground. It’s both hilarious and heartbreaking to watch.

Speaking to inews, Punch said of her role: “It was nice to play someone that I respected, a capable, practical woman who is fantastic at her job. But when you see her with him [Lawrence], she’s in freefall. She’s a woman in her 40s, who is so used to being in control, and then loses it and is just… melting.”

Stream Bloods series 1-2 on Sky Comedy with NOW.

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Motherland - Amanda

She’s the model mother with immaculate hair and make up, who makes every parent at the school gates feel inadequate.

With an amazing ensemble cast featuring Anna Maxwell Martin as constantly exasperated Julia, laid back Liz played by Diane Morgan, have-it-all Meg played by Tanya Moodie and token house husband, Kevin, played by Paul Ready, Motherland is a top trumps of parental stereotypes.

Amanda is the alpha mother you try to avoid, her only redeeming feature being that behind the picture perfect facade, her life is a mess too - although she’d be hard pressed to admit it.

Joanna Lumley, playing Punch's mother for the second time on screen (the first time was in the film Ella Enchanted) is judgemental and shallow giving an insight into where Amanda gets her awfulness from.  

In an interview with The Independent, Punch explains why she’s gravitated to these strong characters: "Smugness and self-satisfaction and ego alongside massive insecurity,” she says. “They make an interesting mix. I’ve always liked people just verging on the grotesque. Not to be friends with, of course, but just to observe.”

Stream Motherland series 1 & 2 on Netflix.

Hot Fuzz - Eve Draper

Cast in the second instalment of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, Hot Fuzz, Lucy played the ill-fated Eve Draper.

Police comedy Hot Fuzz, stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, set in the fictional village of Sandford. It's quiet and picturesque but hides a dark secret. Eve Draper is the ditzy amateur actress with the annoying laugh caught in a star crossed relationship with older married man Martin Blower, played by David Thelfall.

And just like Romeo and Juliet who they play in the village production, they come to a dramatically sticky end.

Stream Hot Fuzz on Netflix.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Esme Squalor

Outrageous and over-the-top mistress of disguise, Lucy plays Count Olaf’s devious accomplice. Joining the cast in the season 2, Esme Squalor seemed to be a godsend to the poor Baudeliare orphans when she becomes their guardian.

Later, it is revealed that she was working with Neil Patrick Harris' Count Olaf all along and diabolical plans with hilarous accents follow!

Stream A Series of Unfortunate Events Seasons 1-3 on Netflix.

Bad Teacher - Amy Squirrel

Teacher Amy Squirrel is a wholesome, perky and somewhat annoying teacher who becomes ‘Bad Teacher’ Cameron Diaz’s nemesis.

Perhaps her biggest film role to date, Lucy becomes love rivals with Cameron Diaz's Elizabeth Halsey when they both vie for the attention of Justin Timberlake's drippy Scott Delacorte.

Again it doesn't end well for Lucy's character, and poor Amy Squirrel - as well as losing out on love - loses her job.

Stream Bad Teacher on Prime Video.

Silent Night -  Bella

It's the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties. Lucy plays Bella, a friend invited to share one last Christmas with Keira Knightly and Matthew Goode’s family before a giant poisonous cloud descends on their country pile and kills them all.

It’s bleak but it’s still a comedy and Lucy manages to still be sarcastic and dead pan in the face of the apocalypse: “I’ve seen The Road, and there’s no way I’m living like that.”

Silent Night is available to buy or rent on the BT Player.

Ella Enchanted - Hattie

Playing wicked step sister Hattie, Lucy makes uber suggestible Anne Hatahaway’s Ella do mean things to get her into trouble. 

When Hattie realises Prince Charmont, played by Hugh Dancy, is falling for Ella, Hattie tries and fails to get between them.

Joanna Lumley once again plays her mother and the wicked stepmother to Ella. But despite her malicious interfering, everything turns out happily ever after for Ella.

Ella Enchanted is available to buy on Prime Video.

Vexed - D.I. Kate Bishop 

In series 1 of police comedy drama, Vexed, Lucy played straight talking, by-the-book D.I. Kate Bishop alongside Toby Stephens' unconventional and hap hazard D.I. Jack Armstrong. The duo, despite being ludicrously mis-matched, find time to solve crimes in South London. 

Sam Wollaston for The Guardian wrote of the series: "The point is the will-they-won't-they chemistry between the two principal characters. Toby Stephens is fabulous as übertwerp Jack - and Lucy Punch as Kate - is excellent at being appalled by him, but also just a tiny bit impressed, even attracted to him. Together they're wonderfully awful."

Vexed Series 1 & 2 are available to buy on Prime Video.

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Doc Martin- Elaine Denham

Lucy played Martin Clune’s useless receptionist Elaine Denham in the first series of Doc Martin. With beach blonde braided hair and surly temperament, she is a match for Doc Martin's gruff demeanour.

As with a lot of Punch's characters, there's a small vein of vulnerability running through  Elaine which stops her being too unlikeable just rather annoying.  

Watch Doc Martin Series 1- 9 on BritBox.

Into The Woods - Lucinda

Lucy plays Lucinda, step sister to Anna Kendrick's Cinderella and as expected is horrible, but things don't turn out too well for her. Whilst trying to convince the prince she is the one, Lucinda's mother, played by Christine Baranski, has Lucinda's heel cut off so she can fit into Cinderella's slipper.

On playing a wicked step-sister again, Lucy Punch told The Guardian: "When I told my mother about Into The Woods, she was like, ‘Oh darling, not again.’”

Into The Woods is avaible to rent or buy on Prime Video.

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